Upendra became a household name with his blockbuster movie A. It became an inspiration to many filmmakers and many movies were made on the similar lines although those flicks were met with little success.
Two decades later, a film titled A Plus is being made which has close resemblances to the cult classic. The interesting part of the story is that Uppi's former associate Vijay Suryaa is making his directorial debut.
A Plus marks the debut of Anil Siddhu and Sangeetha in the leads. The team comprising of the director, hero, cinematographer and others were at the International Business Times (India) recently to talk about the film. Excerpts from the interview here:
Please gives us a brief introduction about your journey in the film industry.
Vijay Suryaa: I worked as an associate director in the movies like Muddu Manase, Shakthi, Veera, etc. Impressed by my work, producer Soundarya Jagadish introduced me to Upendra sir. With A Plus, I am turning independent director.
Anil Siddhu: I started my career in supporting roles. I did small characters in Tamil superstar Vijay's Kaththi, Mani Ratnam's Kaatru Veliyidai and Shankar's I. In Kannada, I have played the villain roles in the films like Mumtaz and Silicon City. I am turning hero with A Plus. As you could see, my growth in the film industry is not happening overnight, but through years of hard work and struggles.
Sunil Kumar: I have worked in the movies like Dumki Damaar, Seizure, Santhu Straight Forward and Mufti. I have played one of the villains in A Plus.
Cinematographer Bhupinder Singh Raina: I liked the story and saw the elements that are usually found in Upendra's movies. Not surprisingly, my first shot was on him. Previously, I worked in a movie called Sarvasva.
As the movie has connections with Upendra. Let us begin with a question related to him. What did you learn from him after working with for many years?
Vijay Suryaa: Upendra is like a university; we get to learn so many things from him. Not just on filmmaking, but on life lessons. The last movie that I worked with the film was Uppi 2.
I learnt how to respect people irrespective of their age. He speaks to everyone with dignity. He knows that by treating people well we can take the best work from them. The interesting point here is that he discusses every single detail with his associates. Even if there is a small correction, he let his people know about it. And when we sit for discussions he ensures that it is only about the film and no room for diverting the topic. To sum up, there is so much to learn from him and I could only take away a few lessons from him.
Is A Plus, a sequel to Uppi's A?
Vijay Suryaa: I do not deny the influence of A on me or A Plus, but it is not a sequel. When I narrated the story, Uppi sir asked me 'why do I need this title?' But explained the reason behind it and he was convinced. Initially, we had chosen the title as A1, but someone had already registered it. So, we settled with A Plus.
We have a valid reason behind the title and people will know it after watching A Plus, but I assure you that there is no relation between the two flicks. Undoubtedly, the title alone has garnered viewers' attention and in every interview, people ask me the same question. I am also aware of the comparison coming between the two movies, but all I tell the audience is that watch the movie without prejudices. I am sure they would not draw comparisons thereafter.
Tell us about your working experience with Vijay Suryaa.
Anil Siddhu: The director gave me the story narration for about 90 minutes at a coffee shop, before he concluded I was sure that this is the kind of movie that I wanted to act. I was impressed with his confidence. I feel lucky to have worked with him. Well, it would not be an exaggeration if I say that this one film alone gave the experience of working in 20 movies.
Is it a psychological thriller?
Anil Siddhu: Every man born on Earth has to fight, every day. It is a never-ending battle within and there are so many unanswered questions in life. A Plus is one movie that touches upon this topic. People, who watch the movie, will have questions each on the story, hero, heroine, etc. and they can relate with their lives. So, in that way you can call it a psychological thriller.
How was the experience working in A Plus?
Bhupinder Singh Raina: I would say A Plus was a tough project considering the fact that there were too many dos and don'ts. The cinematography plays a major role in the narrative. Although there were too many restrictions, yet I say that I had a great experience after watching the output.
It is quite surprising to know that there are so songs in the film. Why?
Vijay Suryaa: Songs play a major role to promote movies and when we said that there are no songs, people were quite surprised. The reason is dialogues have fulfilled this place. At places, the one-liners come up with a poetic touch and people would not realise that there are no songs in the film. To put it in simple words, the story does not demand songs.
As a producer, were you convinced to make a movie without songs?
Prabhu Kumar: When Vijay Suryaa approached me with the story, I had many questions. I countered him with my doubts for which he told me that what he narrated was not the story, rather the questions that came in my mind was!
Generally, the standard practice to have songs in the narrative is to ensure that people do not get bored. And some filmmaker uses songs wherever the story looks weak. In the case of A Plus, the story is strong and we never felt like diluting it with unnecessary tracks.
Single out that one quality that you liked in Anil Siddhu.
Vijay Suryaa: People would love the way he mouths dialogues. Generally, we have multiple takes to complete lengthy dialogues, but Anil Siddhu made our job easy by saying those one-liners in one long take.
Can you please tell us about the role that film's heroine Sangeetha is playing in the film?
She is a popular actress among TV audience after working in Hara Hara Mahadeva serial. She has a good role in the film and plays as a backbone to the hero.
How was your first experience?
Prabhu Kumar: I feel happy to be involved in this movie. Starting from Uppi sir tapping the clap to celebrities like Shivanna, Ganesh, Rakshit Shetty giving bytes to our film, I feel blessed to have got blessings of biggies from the Sandalwood stars. I could not have asked for more.
What role have you played in the film?
Sunil Kumar: I will be seen as one of the villains in A Plus.
The complete interview can be watched above.